Tag Archives: banking

FS CX Special: 3 interviews with CX leaders in financial services

I write a series entitled, ‘CX leaders’ which has included number of CX practitioners. The selection criteria for the interview is simply companies, or CX leads within those organisations who have impressed me with their commitment to a customer-led approach.

I’ve covered a range of sectors, including financial services. There is inspiration to be found from talking with those who are pushing forward with a customer agenda in a world dominated by transactions. As the interviews featured in this FS special show customer experience is a great way to transcend from a customer transaction focus to a customer relationship culture.

Against a backdrop of FCA regulation, historical lack of consumer trust and the arrival of nimble ‘cloud’ inhabiting digital brands, the established FS brands have their work cut out to stay relevant. But as these three interviews show, FS has a lot to gain from an effective CX strategy.

Newcastle Building Society – interview with Stuart Fearn, Head of Customer Contact

Stuart explains how NBS review technology to understand how it helps customers before deciding whether its relevant and valuable to adopt.

“Our priority is to make it easy for our customers to deal with us and to create positive, memorable moments and connections.

Link to the full interview – CX Leaders: Newcastle Building Society

The Bank of Cyprus – interview with Scott Fleming, Chief Customer & Commercial Officer

As his job title suggests, the Bank of Cyprus see customer-led thinking as a key growth imperative. With a customer base spread across branch usage and online banking, BoC’s challenges are familiar to most in retail banking.

Scott highlights the key requirements and support needed to make customer experience a priority focus in a financial organisation, including KPI management and backing from the CEO.

Link to the full interview – CX Leaders: Bank of Cyprus

One Savings Bank – Interview with Stephen Plimmer, Head of Customer Strategy & Insight

I met Stephen at the FSF Marketing Effectiveness Awards where OSB had picked up the CX award we sponsored that year.

Their story is of interest to anyone with a specific product or demographic looking to broaden their reach further.

link to the full interview – CX Leaders: One Savings Bank

These three interviews highlight some of the challenges and solutions financial services brands are dealing with in order to pursue a more sustainable profit from committed and content customers.

If you would like to be, featured in our CX Leaders series please drop me a line.

If you’d like to understand more about the value of CX and how to apply it to your business, email christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com and we will forward details of how to ‘improve’, ‘prioritise’ and ‘lead’ with CX.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Lexden – The Customer Experience Practice

lexdengroup.com ¦ +44 1279 902205 ¦ @lexdengroup

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Applying small Customer Experience improvements to your business to make a BIG impact

Driving a positive behavioural change in customers is the surest way to increase their sustainable contentment and commitment to your business. We’ve seen this achieved when programmes focus on what really matters most to the customers and the business delivers best.

Of course setting the companies CX compass correctly means understanding that Customer Performance measures will mean for the business. For instance, no CFO worth their Masters degree in Economics is going to thank you for delivering a sparkly green looking dashboard showing industry leading promoter scores or top box customer satisfaction if they don’t correlate with profitability.

CEO’s are waking up to (or more often walking into) this reality in their business. If this sounds familiar, then efforts should be diverted to improving the customer performance measures to reflect efforts on CX which drive business profitability. In a study by Prof. Dr Phil Klaus, amongst companies who drive 600% ROI from their CX programmes, effective CX measurement was the No.1 contributing factor for success.

If you’d like to know more on this contact Christopher Brooks and reference 600% ROI.

If you are chartering the correct course, then it’s worth remembering that results from CX take time. So keeping stakeholders’ engagement and belief in CX is key. To do this we recommend small ideas which deliver a big impact (siBI).

I was speaking to a regular on the CX speaker circuit recently who said, ‘We do this all the time. We are always fixing stuff so it works for customers’. Beware, there is a clear distinction between improvements which reaffirm consumer’s choice of a brand versus ‘fixing stuff that was broken’. Not all realise this. However, ROI on ‘operational’ style fixes typically delivers only 125%; 4 times less effective than the vanguards achieve with branded experience.

nationwide2Here are 3 examples of small ideas which I feel demonstrate, in a small way, what the brand is trying to stand for through an enhanced experience.

Nationwide, a more considerate and caring building society takes the opportunity to ensure there is no mess left in the community from its cash machines.

It’s something all could do, but those who don’t have it in their DNA don’t.

I counted 4 other banks on our high street without this simple experience set up.

travellodge2Travelogical is the message from Travel Lodge. And this is a simple demonstration of logic. A basket of basic supplies which if you are so inclined you can take.

This not only reduces the effort and cost of staff dealing with customers requesting tea bags and sugar sachets, but it makes the budget hotel chain appear more generous than those perceived more premium.

Disneyland Paris in comparison provide a tea bag and coffee sachet per customer, per stay.

whopper2Finally, I saw this on a Burger King wrapper at Barcelona airport. Fast food chains have worked hard to demonstrate authentic and natural ingredients. What better way of stating it than on the wrapper from which is eaten. But actually stating it could backfire and have customers thinking why say it if you’ve got nothing to hide? So by making it part of the ‘what ingredients are in excluded from the order’, it allows the selection of natural ingredients which go in to make up the burger meal laid bare without stating them. Smart, simple and small.

They all share the ‘small’ in terms of investment as well as the ‘BIG’ in terms of demonstration of brand values. It’s that simple. Whilst they won’t achieve, ‘jump off the page’ unprompted positive verbatim they can be shared around the business as examples of quick, brand reaffirming experiences delivered for relatively little. Small ideas delivering Big Improvements.

Lexden helps deliver Customer Experience Strategy and Management for clients seeking sustainable profit from customer experience.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

Do you know where your brand’s customer experience blind spots are?

One morning last week in the space of 10 minutes I walked past three examples of customer experience which are more to do with my interpretation of what I experienced rather than the intention of the brand trying to deliver the customer experience.

It highlights that all brands have blind spots. Most organisations look at customer experience from a ‘process’ or ‘journey’ perspective. However, as these three real examples below show reviewing the experience from a ‘scenario’ perspective can throw up unplanned experiences. This also demonstrates how evident it is when a brand has a customer experience ‘programme’ rather than a deep rooted philosophical belief. Otherwise the way these ‘unforeseen’ experiences are dealt with would have been very different.

There are brands who do make the most of these misfortunes. If you want to know how to turn blind spots into brand differentiating experiences get in contact. But for now I hope you enjoy these three examples.

Specsavers ‘managing’ operational issues from the front line

I popped in to the store for a pre-booked contact lens test. It was very good in terms of the service and overall experience, as ever. However, I couldn’t help but notice a post it on all the monitors. It read, ‘Please quote 10 days for jobs you would normally quote 7 days.Thanks’.

Managing customer expectations effectively is a key attribute of CX, but hanging this type of message out in front of customers festers a worry that everything said before and after by the staff isn’t quite true, even if it was meant with good and helpful intentions.

Without brand and quality control on board, the delivery of a customer experience will be inconsistent at best but can turn lawless if not contained. The interpretation of this experience by the consumer will then impact a new lesser perception of the brand, even if the intention of the CX delivery of the brand was entirely different.

Santander saying ‘sorry’ with a scrap of paper

santander2On my way to Specsavers I intended to get some cash out for a coffee later. But on passing the Santander ATM I was confronted with a usual modern sight; a faulty ATM. But rather than the usual screen denial message there was a personal note applied by the store.

it read, ‘please accept our apologies – this cash machine is not dispensing cash at the moment. Engineer on the way.’ All very good you might say. But considering this was more noticeable than the high gloss, high budget ads which hung in the branch window, it was delivered on a tatty and ripped scrap of paper.

So why doesn’t it have a ‘brand approved’ execution too? After all this is a regular occurrence. If I was heading in to discuss a current account would a seed of doubt have been planted? Possibly. Would it be enough to stop me? Possibly.

Costa’s Muffin creates such a buzz, I headed to Nero

Having completed my eye test I popped into Costa Coffee to grab a coffee and a muffin to take back to the office. However, I traced the buzz of the fly to a muffin being displayed in a large glass container. It is designed so that a customer can’t get their hand to the cakes. Okay, it may be just me, but on a cool October morning when you hear the buzz of a fly you think the worse in a restaurant or coffee shop. I had no idea how long the fly had been having a field day on the muffins or anything else I could have changed my order to. The barista were oblivious to it which again suggested they were worringly used to it.

The reality was probably very different. The fly had probably only just arrived, the barista probably hadn’t seen it but would get rid of it as soon as they did and the fly ‘brushing’ my muffin would make no difference to my eating pleasure. However, reality counts for little where perception is concerned.

The impact was made on my experience. I left the store and headed across to Nero which had no flies, or at least had dealt with them before I arrived so I was none the wiser. Flies are attracted to cakes and coffee so surely the scenario should have a CX response drilled into the Batista to reassure customers of brand quality standards.

In summary, none of us are perfect, but we need to plan to be more so

As consumers we can’t ‘un-see’ these sorts of things. They invariably play a part in our assessment of that brand and our future consideration of it. Therefore, making sure everyone from the boardroom, to the brand team to the ‘brigade’ on the front line are in on the joke. Make sure you look for the blind spots as well as the blindingly obvious if you want the customer experience delivery to be a differentiation rather than a detraction.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director, Lexden

Lexden is an independent customer experience consultancy practice. We help clients deliver greater profit through more effective customer experience practices.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to Lexden’s ‘Customer’s World’ Update for ideas, inspiration and insights to improve your customer strategy endeavours. 

For further information on how we can help with your customer challenges contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client testimonials and case studies at www.lexdengroup.com.

Unordinary Thinking No. 46 – keep the lights on when everyone’s left the building

Offices, banks, shops, libraries and sports halls all have one thing in common; when they’ve served their intended purpose and visitors leave, the shift ends, the lights are switched off and the doors are locked. This is typical practice and environmentally sound in most cases too. But could an equally important contribution to society be made if you keep the premise open even when you’ve headed home?

Applying this unordinary thought in a very ordinary way means letting others make more of what you’ve got. Read on to discover three very different examples of what can be achieved when you think beyond the end of your shift.

Be upstanding please

emily barker2Okay, so churches don’t actually shut but the venue can wind down when the parishioners are not in attendance. Or do they? A couple of weeks ago I was watching one of my favourite bands; Emily Barker & the Red Clay Halo. It was an emotional night being one of the last gigs for the North American folk sounding band before they split. The ticket stated the venue was on 197 Piccadilly, London. I couldn’t recall a concert hall there. When I arrived I discovered it was in fact St James’s Church, Piccadilly. Their music is not religiously intended and their subjects cross a boundary that some regular parishioners may feel at odds with. But as a venue with atmospheric up-lighting and acoustics bouncing around the dome, for the 400 of us jammed it came alive.

I spoke to a couple of the volunteers who explained this is an idea for raising funds beyond the conventional approach. Their venue has dwindling audiences and is expensive to upkeep. Where as bands have a great following prepared to pay handsomely to see them. By leaving the lights on, the Church attracts a new paying audience and the band has a memorable venue to play in.

Taking a rain check on skateboarding

Earlier this year I watched Ida Auken, the former Minister for the Environment in Denmark, impressively present at TEDx Houses of Parliament. She recalled a great example of a project she was involved in regarding optimising neglected space in Denmark. The area of Roskilde suffered from increasing levels of rainwater causing flooding to the neighbouring towns. But rather than a standard drainage project being commissioned, Danish architect Soren Nordal Enevoldsen, famed for skateparks, was invited to tackle the problem.

skate park2Enevoldsen and his company, Nordarch, designed a concrete area with graduating slopes that collected and transported the water into a canal. They also ingeniously transformed the 24,000-square-foot drainage facility from a potential public infrastructure eyesore into a multi-functional recreation area by shaping the water collecting bowls with half-pipes and grinding edges for skateboarding. Now the Rabalder Park project has become a gathering place for both rainwater and skateboarding enthusiasts.

The odd couple: banking & yoga

Umpqua Bank has 364 branches spread across Washington, Oregon, California, Nevada and Idaho and it’s growing. They are bucking the trend of retail banking by profitably opening branches when others are heading for a digital relationship. That’s not the area  of unordinary thinking they apply.

yoga umpquaFor instance they open their doors when the branch stops its regular trading. Along with yoga they organise virtual bowling on the big screens for seniors, art exhibitions and even ‘stitch and bitch’ sessions for local resident groups. These out-of-hours sessions are helping them to connect with their customers and prospects beyond banking. It’s also giving those attending an opportunity to see their bank is as much a part of the community as they are. Will it catch on? With $22 billion in assets to date, perhaps truly customer-led thinking is a strategy more banks should consider.

So the next time you are about to clock off and leave your work place, have an unordinary consideration about who else could be optimising your space when you are not there. It might just be the making of your business.

Posted by Christopher Brooks, Director

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experiences and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to ‘Putting Customers First’  for fresh insights. Or for further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on M: +44 (0) 7968 316548 or T: +44 (0)1279 902205.  You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or read client case studies at www.lexdengroup.com 

How HSBC creates brand advocates through Customer Experience

I rarely write about my own customer experiences. Usually I’m taking examples from others and blending with my observations to evidence best or worse practice CX planning.

But on occasion I experience a customer experience as a consequence of a situation I’ve found myself in which impresses me enough to tell others.

And when it works, really well, it reminds us of the importance customer experience in helping consumers trying to ‘get on’ and live their lives. Great customer experience removes the friction in life which holds us back from getting through the day.

As a ‘consumer’ I can’t really consciously value this until it goes wrong. CX in this context operates as the unsung hero. However, the more important that process to me within the context of my life, the increased favourability I undoubtedly have for one brand over another.

So when something unexpected happens in my life, a customer experience designed to remove the anxiety will go a long way in turning my passive relationship to a promoter of their brand. I might even commit the experience to a blog. Here’s my story…

hsbc 2…at 11.30am I stepped back from a presentation I was preparing and picked up a couple of approved invoices to pay. I looked for my ‘securekey’ which allows me to access the HSBC business bank account. It wasn’t where it normally should be. I knew I needed to call HSBC to get a replacement. I decided I could make the payments when it arrived.

I was working remotely from our Bishops Stortford office so called the London office and told them the situation. I was reminded that these were due today and one by midday. Panic back on. It was at this point I realise I should have paid them before I got stuck in to the presentation but it was too late and the presentation was due to be sent in two hours.

hsbc bsI headed to the local branch of HSBC. As I walked there I realised I didn’t know what it would achieve going in to see them, our branch was in Victoria, but with the minutes ticking I wanted to share my pain and see what could be done over the counter.

On arrival I was greeted with a smile by a greeter. I explained the situation and he calmly said it could be sorted. He told me to head to the teller to get the payments made first. I did. I explained my quandary to the lady behind the glass. With enough security checks to make me feel comfortable, but not so much that I felt violated, ‘we’ made the payments on time. I say we because without the HSBC team I would have failed.

The lady informed me that if I called the replacement securekey team from the branch they could issue me a new card now. Wow, so within 45 minutes of my crisis starting, it would be over.

The greeter dialled through the IVR and connected me to a person. Being a global bank I expected a globally located operator. I was right. But that didn’t diminish the empathy and understanding of my situation he offered.

To get through to the point where an email was sent to me and a new securecard handed to me in branch involved three phone transfers and the assistance of three members of branch staff. But each one of those phone transfers managed my expectations and when I was handed over the recipient of my call explained my situation to me straight off to give me confidence that they were in control.

I left the bank 20 minutes after arriving with payments made, a new securekey ready to activate, a smile on my face and a tweet winging its way to broadcast from @consultingchris on how great they’d been.

It then dawned on me that I’d had a branded customer experience. This was global, local in action. Okay I wasn’t trading with New Zealand or requiring advice on setting up a venture in Baltimore, but I was vulnerable and their global network of operators helped me out capably supported by the local team.

From a customer experience best practice perspective this delivers against all 6 customer attributes:

  1. They managed my expectations across every touch point
  2. They minimised the time and effort taken by employing various channels and technology to arrive at the right outcome
  3. They empathised with my situation and brought my anxiety down whilst we got things sorted
  4. They resolved my issues without any sense of it being less than why they were there
  5. They personalised it to me. It may be this happens on a daily basis for them but I felt they’d structured their customer experience response specifically around my situation
  6. They showed integrity putting my interests first. They could have been more stringent on security (more than needed) but a few smart questions ensured I was who I said I was and they let me use a branch in the middle of the phone even though they were hosting a MacMillan Nurses Cake morning .

Hats off to HSBC from me and our suppliers who got paid on time.

Not forgetting my client who received the presentation in time too. And that’s why all of the above was so important to me. It allowed me to ‘get on’ with my business.

Posted by Christopher Brooks

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the heart of the decision 

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter. Or for further information contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on  M: +44 (0) 7968 316548. You can also follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter.

How a small pink purse created a big HSBC advocate

pink purseI found a purse in the road, a small pink purse – a child’s? No, not a child’s, but a Mummy’s purse.  House keys attached. PANIC. Tesco ClubCard number attached. Inside was about £200 freshly withdrawn cash DOUBLE PANIC, four library cards, a photo, some crumpled paper with ‘Roger The Plumber’ details, and an HSBC debit card OFF THE SCALE PANIC. No address or phone number (clever lady).

I know what a traumatic experience that can be, so my sleuthing began to find the owner. I went into six shops and asked if they’d seen this lady looking for her purse, no-one had. I crashed in on the christening party taking part in the nearest church and asked. No (I was sure that I would find the owner there). So, I left my number and name in the six nearby shops, and I also left my number and name under the wipers of the two closest parked cars.

It was a Sunday, but my first port of call was Tesco ClubCard. I found the ‘lost’ number and dialed – but they are not open on a Sunday (I thought they were open every day?). So I phoned the ‘lost card’ number for HSBC and Richard answered straight away. He took the card number and name and informed me he couldn’t give me the lady’s number – I asked if he had her mobile and he did. I explained that she would be panicking and wouldn’t be able to get into her house, nor treat her children. He promised to phone her straight away and give her my number. Within five minutes the lady phoned me, and within ten minutes the lady was reunited with her purse, her cash, her keys and her sanity.

hsbcSo thank you HSBC, not only did you restore my faith in humankind, as I did to the lady in question but you’ve probably saved yourselves a few pounds in admin fees in replacing the card too. Not to mention getting yourself broadcast in a positive light to the dozens I’ve told and the hundreds now thanks to this blog – the global bank certainly does do ‘local’.

We passed Canary Wharf yesterday on the way to Greenwich, and I told the entire DLR carriage this story too.

Finally, to the two ragamuffins that phoned on the strength of my quick and dirty ads placed to find the purse’s owner, asking for their cash! (My note said ‘if you’ve lost something valuable I may have it, please phone me’). How very dare you.

 

Lexden is a Customer Strategy Agency | We put customers at the start and the heart of marketing strategy.

We work with brands to attract and retain happy customers | We achieve this by helping them to understand what makes their customers tick, building memorable customer experience strategies and creating engaging customer value propositions.

If you like what you’ve read please sign-up to our monthly ‘Putting Customers First’ newsletter.

Or for a discussion on how we may be able to help you, contact christopherbrooks@lexdengroup.com or call us on T: +44 (0) 7968 316548You can also follow us on Facebook LinkedIn  and Twitter @consultingchris